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A Ukrainian serviceman of the border service patrols in front of the seaport in Mariupol on September 1, 2014. Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images

BRUSSELS – NATO leaders this week will be asked to approve the creation of a high-readiness force and the stockpiling of military equipment and supplies in Eastern Europe to help protect member nations there against potential Russian aggression, the alliance’s secretary general said Monday.

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Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., spoke with CBS News White House Correspondent Major Garrett on Face the Nation about the unf…

As NATO prepares to counter potential Russian aggression, the rebels in Ukraine that operate with Moscow’s backing softened their demand for full independence Monday, saying they would respect Ukraine’s sovereignty in exchange for autonomy – a shift that reflects Moscow’s desire to strike a deal at a new round of peace talks.

It remains unclear, however, whether the talks can reach a compromise amid the brutal fighting that has continued in eastern Ukraine. On Monday, the rebels pushed Ukrainian government forces from an airport near Luhansk, the second-largest rebel-held city, the latest in a series of military gains.

The fighting in Ukraine is also spreading to other parts of the country.

Firmly in control of the first contested city of Donetsk, the rebels are consolidating hold on the city of Novoazovsk, which they seized last week, reports CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer.

Twenty miles away lies the industrial center of Mariupol, widely assumed to be next on the rebels’ list.

But the pro-Russian forces won’t be welcome here.

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NATO preparing high-readiness force to counter Russia

By Adrian Croft BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday that Ukraine's political leaders expect a new parliament to abandon the country's non-aligned status after an election next month in a possible prelude to an application to join NATO. Ukraine said on Friday it would seek the protection of NATO membership after what Kiev and its Western allies say is …

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Ball in Ukraine's court over NATO after election: alliance chief

Kristin Hughs, right, announces to supporters the Supreme Court’s decision on the Hobby Lobby case in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press

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SALT LAKE CITY The Obama administration has issued a new regulation (on Aug. 22) offering some relief to family businesses and nonprofit organizations that have objected, on the grounds of religious conscience, to the requirement that they offer abortion-inducing contraceptives.

It is the eighth time in three years the government has retreated from its original, hard-line stance that only houses of worship that hire and serve fellow believers deserve religious freedom, said Lori Windham, senior counsel to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which successfully fought the contraceptive mandate both on behalf of businesses, like the retail craft chain Hobby Lobby, as well as nonprofit religious orders like the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Supreme Courts 5-4 decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, decided on June 30, was an important step in affirming religious freedom laws in this country.

But consider the task faced by defenders of religious freedom: They must confront the attitude, pervasive within the Obama administration, that religion takes place only within the walls of a church or synagogue.

Archbishop Williams Lori of Baltimore put his finger on the problem when he told the Catholic News Agency earlier this month: “It’s easy to see that the threats to religious liberty in the West are starting to constrict religion more and more. [Religion is seen] as reducible simply and solely to freedom of worship, the sentiment that as long as you’re in church, do what you want, but don’t think about bringing religious values into public, into your place of work, into the political discussion.

Consider the difference between the freedom of worship, which is not seriously contested in the Western world, versus the free exercise of religion.

Its commonly said that the First Amendment itemizes five freedoms: religion, speech, a free press, peaceably assembly and the right to petition. The advocates of the minimalist freedom of worship think of the Obama administration view religious rights as if they were akin to tweeting against Boko Haram, or assembling for an awards ceremony.

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Drew Clark: Religious freedom is more than a right to speak and assemble

KIEV, Ukraine, Aug. 29 (UPI) — Ukraine will seek NATO membership, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said Friday.

His announcement came after accusations by Ukraine, NATO and the United Nations that Russia is a participant in the separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen referred Friday to a “serious escalation of Russian aggression” in claiming Russia is attempting to “destabilize Ukraine as a sovereign nation.”

He spoke at a special NATO meeting convened to discuss the Ukraine situation.

Yatsenyuk said he will ask Ukrainian legislators to emend the country’s constitution, removing a clause declaring it a non-aligned nation, and will seek legislation forbidding Ukraine to join organizations contrary to NATO’s interests, such as the Eurasian Economic Community, a trade bloc of former Soviet states.

NATO is currently comprised of 28 nations, its prevailing concept one of binding mutual aid in case of military attack. The treaty would compel Ukraine to aid any NATO country, and in return compel NATO to come to Ukraine’s aid. Ukraine seeks entry into the European Union as well, an economic organization which, with the United States, has imposed economic sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea and involvement in the ongoing Ukrainian situation.

2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Ukraine seeks to join NATO, prime minister says

Ukraine called on Friday for full membership in NATO, its strongest plea yet for Western military help, after accusing Russia of sending in armored columns that have driven back its forces on behalf of pro-Moscow rebels.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, defiant as ever, compared Kievs drive to regain control of its rebellious eastern cities to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in World War Two. He announced that rebels had succeeded in halting it, and proposed that they now permit surrounded Ukrainian troops to retreat.

Speaking to young people at a summer camp, Putin told his countrymen they must be ready to repel any aggression towards Russia. He described Ukrainians and Russians as practically one people, language that Ukrainians say dismisses the very existence of their thousand-year-old nation.

The past 72 hours have seen pro-Russian rebels suddenly open a new front and push Ukrainian troops out of a key town in strategic coastal territory along the Sea of Azov. Kiev and Western countries say the reversal was the result of the arrival of armored columns of Russian troops, sent by Putin to prop up a rebellion that would otherwise have been near collapse.

A local resident passes by a camouflaged pro-Russian tank in the town of Novoazovsk, in eastern Ukraine on Friday.Photo: AP

Rebels said they would accept Putins proposal to allow Kiev forces, who they say are surrounded, to retreat, provided the government forces turn over weapons and armor. Kiev said that only proved that the fighters were doing Moscows bidding.

Russia drew a fresh rebuke from French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who told French television station France 24 that Russia could face more sanctions from the European Union.

When one country sends military forces into another country without the agreement and against the will of another country, that is called an intervention and is clearly unacceptable, he said.

In Berlin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after speaking with his Ukrainian counterpart: The border violations we are seeing yesterday and even more so the day before yesterday make us fear that the situation is increasingly getting out of control.

In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Russias footprint was undeniable in Ukraine.

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Ukraine wants to join NATO as Putin compares Kiev to Nazis

A girl killed a gun instructor as he was teaching her to shoot an Uzi at this Arizona outdoor shooting range.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Editor’s note: Jay Parini, a poet and novelist, teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont. He has just published “Jesus: The Human Face of God,” a biography of Jesus. Follow him on Twitter@JayParini. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) — The gun outrages continue, the latest the shooting of a gun instructor in Arizona by a 9-year-old girl who was taken to the range by her parents so she could shoot an Uzi, an Israeli-made submachine gun.

The question that the whole world asks is this: Why was a 9-year-old girl allowed even to try to shoot a submachine gun?

Jay Parini

I have a further question: Why does anybody not on the front lines of the military in a war zone need to have access to a submachine gun?

It’s not as though we haven’t had plenty of evidence that this gun thing in America isn’t working. Since the ghastly massacre of elementary school children at Sandy Hook on December 14, 2012, by a deranged teenager, as of June there were at least 74 school shootings, on school grounds or in schools themselves. It’s commonplace in this country now: A deranged shooter appears, armed to the teeth, out of his mind. Everyone ducks or runs for cover. The shooter proceeds calmly through the building, taking out innocents.

What kind of country have we become? Was this what the Founding Fathers had in mind?

The NRA will scream: The Second Amendment! The Second Amendment! Please be aware that most of what you think you know about the history of this amendment is nonsense. Many good books and articles exist on the subject, all neatly summarized by Saul Cornell a couple of years ago. He wrote: “If the nation truly embraced the Second Amendment as it was originally written, it would be the NRA’s worst nightmare.”

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2nd amendment and 'gun rights' fraud

The New York Times Magazine recentlywondered at lengthif the long-prophecied Libertarian Moment had finally arrived. Why, just look at the prevailing attitudes in America: openness to same-sex marriage and liberalization of drug laws, aversion to long-term overseas military deployments (wars), and um Obama is unpopular so people hate government regulation now, maybe? Sure. Well, no. As we wrote, libertarianism as a package is going to be a hard sell to the public as long as it dismisses concerns over economic insecurity and insists upon dismantling the regulatory state and large social insurance programs. But hey, its great that libertarians and liberals have common ground on and are making headway in social and criminal justice policy.

Who would be the foot soldiers in this Libertarian Moment thats not really arriving? The usual, well-funded thinkers that have given the movement a disproportionately large voice within debates in Washington, D.C., for decades Reason magazine, the Cato Institute along with a few MTV VJs from the 90s. Also: Rand Paul! Rand Paul is the son of a libertarian and is sort of a libertarian himself and is going to be the next president, after all. And then America will finally be the sexy free-market rock n roll paradise of libertarians imagination. There is a plan, folks.

But any political movement is going to need more than just a few magazines and think tanks and a scion whose political future depends on the extent to which hes willing to water down his libertarianism. Meaning: Libertarianism needs a lot more libertarians. If libertarianism is going to be the wave of the future, a significant portion of the American populace should a) know what libertarianism is and then b) subscribe to it.

Right now that portion is 11 percent not nothing, but also 11 percent. Thats the figure according to Pew of Americans who both say they are libertarian and know the definition of the term.

Youd expect, then, that those who know what libertarianism is and call themselves libertarians would be broadly in favor of the whole ideological package: social liberalism, for lack of a better term, anti-police state, anti-interventionist, and hella anti-economic regulation and so forth small government, all around.

Thats not necessarily the case among those 11 percent, Pew finds. The 11 percent are, indeed, more likely than the public overall to say government aid to the poor does more harm than good by making people too dependent on government assistance, and somewhat more likely than the public overall to say government regulation of business does more harm than good.Theyre also more likely than the public overall to support legalizing marijuana.

But on cops and foreign policy? Self-identified libertarians-who-generally-know-what-libertarianism-is are a little more supportive than the public overall of letting police do whatever the hell they want and bombing everyone all the time (although the foreign policy question is spectacularly vague):

And they are about as likely as others to favor allowing the police to stop and search anyone who fits the general description of a crime suspect (42% of libertarians, 41% of the public).

Similarly, self-described libertarians do not differ a great deal from the public in opinions about foreign policy. Libertarianism is generally associated with a less activist foreign policy, yet a greater share of self-described libertarians (43%) than the public (35%) think it is best for the future of our country to be active in world affairs.

Pew ran another math-y thing to figure out which cluster, or political type, these self-identified libertarians are most closely aligned with. Youll never guess which cluster came out on top! It rhymes with Schmusiness Schmonservatives.

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Libertarians true identity revealed: Rich conservatives OK with gay people, basically



72-HOURS: WikiLeaks to reveal NSA-targeted country that could lead to deaths
72-HOURS: WikiLeaks to reveal NSA-targeted country that could lead to deaths videolarn The discussions on whether to release the name of the country took p…

By: Angus Dun

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72-HOURS: WikiLeaks to reveal NSA-targeted country that could lead to deaths – Video

Modi government believes in freedom of press as it is the essence of democracy and no “external” regulation has worked in media, Information and Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar today said on his first day in office.

“We believe that press freedom is the essence of democracy. And to make democracy a success, we require this press freedom because it gives people the choice in a rainbow of differing opinions,” the Minister said.

He recalled restrictions imposed on media during the Emergency and said that he was among those who had opposed it.

“There is no external regulation which works in media. Once in 1975, the media freedom was trampled upon but we fought against it. The people fought against it and I personally was very active on this front because I belong to a family of journalists and therefore we fought and were in jail for sixteen months,” he said.

Javadekar said that dissent has its place in democracy and added that the government would welcome constructive criticism.

The I&B minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been saying that to run a government a majority is needed but to run the country cooperation of all is required.

Speaking to mediapersons, Javadekar said that it is a joint mission to see that India prospers to its potential by 2025 and progresses much further by 2030.

“These will be important landmarks,” he said.

When queried about remarks reportedly made by his predecessor Manish Tewari that the I&B ministry belonged to a past era, Javdekar replied that an institution can be brought to an end quickly but it takes time to nurture work culture in an institution.

He said that he would study in detail issues related to his ministry and then give a presentation to the Prime Minister after which a course for the future would be charted out.

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Freedom of Press Essence of Democracy: I&B Minister



Tor Browser 2 – Surfing on the net from a specific country!
Tor Bngsz – Netezs egy adott orszgbl! – TOR Browser 3.5.x+ – 'torrc' File (Tor BrowserDataTor) – Country Code / Orszgkd https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…

By: itQ

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Tor Browser 2 – Surfing on the net from a specific country! – Video

May 262014

State regulators in Massachusetts and others around the country are taking a close look at virtual currencies as bitcoin continues to grow in popularity.

We will be trying to come up with a model law or regulations states can use, said David Cotney, commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Banks and chairman of the Emerging Payments Task Force. This has gotten a lot of attention, and we want to make sure when we act, we get it right.

The task force is made up of nine state regulators from around the country, and will look at everything from bitcoin to mobile payments.

Last week though, the task force held a hearing on bitcoin and other virtual currencies, hearing testimony from bitcoin companies and regulators, include Barbara Anthony, undersecretary of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

Anthony said one of the key issues is that average consumers may be interested in bitcoin, but are not aware of some of the risks.

Consumers and average consumers need to know that there are certain drawbacks to trading in a virtual currency, Anthony said. The kinds of consumer protections that were used to, people have to understand they are not available to virtual currencies.

Things consumers should be aware of about bitcoin, Anthony said, include volatile worth and the fact there is no central authority that guarantees bitcoins worth.

You could buy $100 worth of bitcoin right now and over a period of time that value is not going to be $100, Anthony said.

Cotney said he is not planning on implementing any regulations on bitcoin immediately, but could down the road.

We will certainly be looking at the efforts of this task force to help guide us, Cotney said.

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Regulations mulled for bitcoin

Maguindanao massacre carnage site in Barangay Salman, Ampatuan town in Maguindanao. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines The House of Representatives has approved a bill declaring November 23 as Philippine Press Freedom Day.

November 23 marks the commemoration of the grisly massacre in Maguindanao four years ago that killed 58 people, 32 of which were media workers, allegedly at the hands of the Ampatuan clan which wielded a powerful private army in the region.

House Bill 4128 was recommended for approval by the House public information committee, which has yet to consolidate the different versions of the freedom of information bill.

The measure shall promote and uphold freedom and heighten awareness on press freedom so that journalists may freely and securely report the truth no matter who gets hurt by it, said Misamis Occidental Representative Jorge Almonte, who chairs the public information committee.

One of the bills authors, Ako Bicol Rep. Christopher Co, said the country remains to be a dangerous place for journalists even as it has the freest press in Asia.

Remembered as the single deadliest event for journalists in recent history the Maguindanao massacre is and continues to be a symbol of a fight for press freedom and their rights in the practice of their profession, Co said.

The commemoration of Philippine Press Freedom Day shall serve as a fitting reminder that we will never forget the sacrifices of these journalists who gave up their lives in the practice of their profession, he added.

According to the bill, the private sector, government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations and local government units, should encourage and allow their employees to participate in the commemoration of Press Freedom Day within the premises of their respective offices.

The bill also requires the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) to lead public and private schools in organizing activities to celebrate the importance of the press, and to call for an end to violence against the media.

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House passes bill declaring Press Freedom Day

– Mark Seo appointed to manage the company's Korea operations DHL, the world's leading logistics company, today announced the appointment of Mark Seo as Country Manager of DHL Supply Chain Korea. Mark will report into Victor Mok, CEO, North Asia, DHL Supply Chain.

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DHL Supply Chain Announces New Country Manager for Korea

Through regenerative medicine, your ADRCs can rebuild damaged muscle tissue

In the country, there is a facility identified as the first medical center in South East Asia to offer the most advanced regenerative medical procedures. It utilizes state-of-the-art processing, delivery, and preservation of medical-grade Adipose-Derived Regenerative Cells (ADRCs). Located at Zuellig Bldg. Makati Avenue cor. Paseo De Roxas, Makati City, EA Regenerative Medicine Center of Excellence follows the most stringent clinical protocols, registries and standards of operations.

The center makes use of the Celution System from Cytori Therapeutics USA. Their process involves the extraction of unwanted fats derived from the patients own body and isolating the healthy therapeutic cells which can then be administered for the treatment of a whole range of age-related conditions like cardiovascular diseases, orthopedics, muscle, ligament and soft tissue injuries, gastrointestinal disorders, pain management, and procedures for plastic and reconstructive surgery that ensure the safest, most natural, and efficient healing process available to modern health science.

SO HOW DOES IT WORK?

There are stem cells throughout the human body, but theyre rare and difficult to access. The problem facing companies interested in treatment models is this: in order to get therapeutic numbers, you have to grow the stem cells in cultures.

This process fundamentally transforms the cells, based on their time in culture. Under existing FDA regulations, it also effectively makes any treatment derived from a drug, with all the development costs, regulatory hurdles and expenses to get over before having a product to bring to patients.

Theres really not a tissue in the body where, with impunity and effectively no risk, you can take a liters worth from anybody, says David Oxley, Cytori vice president.

But there is your body fatthe thing most of us hate wearing around our waistlines the most.

Fat tissue is one of the sources of therapeutic levels of stem cells. Theres no comparison, says Dr. Eder Garcia Dizon, managing director of EA Regenerative Medicine Center of Excellence. Even bone marrow and cord blood as source pales in comparison from a volume and number of cells perspective.

The Celution system was devised by Cytori to get those cells from the patients fat tissue to their targeted area of need as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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Your fat can heal your heart



The Globalist Are Jeffery Dahmer Cannabalizing Our Country
Alex covers the attack of the left on alternative media, the first amendment and the issues that are preventing the bridges of peace being built in our country today. http://www.infowars.com/rand-…

By: TheAlexJonesChannel

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The Globalist Are Jeffery Dahmer Cannabalizing Our Country – Video

MONTPELIER — Vermont and the U.S. Senates most senior member are initiating efforts to reverse the U.S. Supreme Courts recent campaign finance rulings but taking different tacks.

The Vermont Legislature became the first in the country last month to pass a resolution that calls for a constitutional convention to reverse the high courts rulings that critics say trend toward looser limits on campaign contributions to the unfair advantage of wealthy donors and big business.

Sen. Patrick Leahy has called a June 3 hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, to address the rulings. But he said Thursday hed rather see Congress craft an amendment, rather than have a constitutional convention that could be open to any topic. He said either route faces long odds, but it was a good idea to “start the conversation.”

“Ive always worried about a constitutional convention that could be opened up to all kinds of things — a constitutional amendment that would do away with most of our environmental laws or … might dramatically change whos allowed to vote,” he said.

The Democrat from Vermont, who will mark 40 years in the Senate in January, said in an interview with The Associated Press that hes interested in a tightly drawn constitutional amendment to reverse the effects of the courts decisions in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases.

The rulings favor arguments that most campaign money caps are impermissible limitations on free speech.

Three versions of a campaign finance amendment have been offered in the Senate and 11 in the House. All the proposals seek to reverse the effects of the Citizens United decision of 2010 and the McCutcheon decision this year.

In the earlier ruling, the court said government restrictions on corporate independent expenditures on elections were unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment. The McCutcheon decision held that aggregate limits on campaign contributions to multiple candidates and political action committees also are unconstitutional.

A constitutional convention as requested by the Vermont Legislature would be the first since the framers met in Philadelphia in 1787. All 27 amendments have been proposed by Congress. Two-thirds of the states — 34 — would have to call for a convention and three-quarters — 38 — would be needed to ratify an amendment by convention.

By the congressional route, two-thirds of both the House and Senate would have to support an amendment to reverse court decisions that most Republicans have cheered — an unlikely prospect in the near term.

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Leahy: Constitutional amendment needed on campaign financing



Wikileaks Will Reveal 2nd Country Where NSA Recording All Mobile Calls
WikiLeaks vows to reveal the name of another country in which all mobile calls are monitored by the NSA http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1516212/wiki…

By: David Pakman Show

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Wikileaks Will Reveal 2nd Country Where NSA Recording All Mobile Calls – Video

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he was pulling his country’s troops back from its border with Ukraine. Thursday, NATO officials said they’re seeing signs Russia’s troops might withdraw, although many soldiers remain near the border.

NATO’s leader reports seeing “limited Russian troop activity” close to the border, which could suggest “some of these forces are preparing to withdraw.”

Tensions in the area are high as Ukraine prepares to hold national elections Sunday. Yesterday, Putin said the pullback was meant to create “favorable conditions for Ukraine’s presidential vote and end speculation,” the AP reported.

As it prepares for the vote, Ukrainian forces have struggled to secure areas in the country’s east. Separatists in the Donetsk region attacked a checkpoint Thursday, resulting in at least 11 reported deaths.

Putin said he ordered Russia’s troops to return to their home bases Monday. Here’s an update from NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, issued Thursday:

“Late yesterday, we have seen limited Russian troop activity in the vicinity of the border with Ukraine that may suggest that some of these forces are preparing to withdraw. It is too early to say what this means, but I hope this is the start of a full and genuine withdrawal.

“At present, most of the previously deployed Russian force remains near the Ukrainian border and we see continued Russian exercises in the same area.

“If we see any meaningful, comprehensive and verifiable withdrawal, I would be the first to welcome it. This would be a first step from Russia into the right direction of living up to its international commitments, especially as Ukraine is preparing to hold important presidential elections on Sunday.”

Rasmussen added, “I hope we will see a political and diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine.”

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NATO Says It Sees 'Limited' Russian Troop Activity Near Ukraine

May 222014

Condoleeze Rice, Robert Bigeneau and Christine Lagarde all withdrew from giving the commencement speech at three highly regarded universities. Student protests led to their decision not to appear on campus. These are three highly respected people who have given their views across America and the world.

What a setback to have free speech universities cave in to a few protesters that didn’t approve of something these speakers said or did in the past. Free speech created a civil rights revolution, it ended the Vietnam War and it is the one thing more than any other factor that determines real democracy. God help us if we only want views that preserve the status quo.

A democracy encourages diverse views and a genuine exchange of ideas. These speakers who felt they had to withdraw so the protests did not distract from the honoring of students are truly acting at a high ethical level, but how embarrassing to the university and all Americans who value speech that opposes their thinking.

The best way to stop creative change and encourage conformity is to limit new ideas and limit free speech zones. We have enough problems with surveillance in this country without adding to the problem by driving away smart, accomplished people from free expression of thought. What a step backwards. Keep in mind, there was a time when many universities did not want Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at their institutions of higher learning. Enough said.

Darrel Collins,

La Crescent

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Colleges and free speech

BRUSSELS As NATO defense chiefs convene Thursday for a second day of talks on the Ukraine crisis, reaching agreement on specific steps to counter a more assertive Russia will likely prove elusive as national interests sometimes diverge.

For NATO, the heart of the challenge is bridging a gap between allies in the east, who seek a more muscular regional military posture to deal with Russia, and those in the west, notably Germany, who have urged a more cautious approach toward Moscow.

Its no secret where the differences are, and there have been tough discussions, said one military official from eastern Europe, who asked not to be identified while describing the mood at the outset of talks in Brussels on Wednesday. The outcome and final effect is what matters, but this is a marriage of 28 nations and consensus can be hard.

NATOs crisis response capabilities were a primary focus of the closed door discussions on Wednesday as defense chiefs examined how tensions with Russia will shape NATO in the future.

One of the most pressing issues which the chiefs of defense will consider is the implications of Russias actions in and around Ukraine, Gen. Knud Bartels, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, said in an opening statement Wednesday. Russias annexation of territory in a sovereign nation on NATOs borders has to cast a shadow of insecurity across the Alliances eastern flank and has potentially serious implications for the region and beyond.

Defense chiefs also met on Wednesday with Ukrainian military officials, where closed-door discussions focused on NATO support for Ukrainian military reform efforts.

The turmoil in Ukraine comes as NATO is winding down its combat mission in Afghanistan, which will conclude at the end of the year. While planning continues for a small, post-2014 training mission in the country, the downsizing in Afghanistan means NATO can turn more attention to other regions, Bartels said.

The end of NATOs ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) operation this year brings with it a potential strategic inflection point and the opportunity and capacity for the alliance to refocus its military capability towards a broader range of potential future threats, Bartels said. As we have seen in recent months, the global security situation remains fragile and unpredictable, and the alliance is increasingly surrounded by an arc of instability from Ukraine, to Syria to the Sahel.

Meanwhile, questions have emerged over NATOs readiness to respond should Russia seek to flex its muscle in other parts of the Continent.

If Russia were to launch a surprise attack on a country bordering a NATO nation, the alliance would struggle to generate an immediate respond, according to an internal alliance memo obtained by the German magazine Der Spiegel.

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NATO defense chiefs to review alliance readiness



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Pierre Teilhard De Chardin




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